Forsythe buy Cosworth from Ford
(L to R) Ford's Richard Parry-Jones, Kevin Kalkhoven and Cosworth
Managing Director Tim Routsis
In what can only be described as the
deal-of-the-decade, Champ Car owners Kevin Kalkhoven and Gerald
Forsythe have acquired Cosworth from the
Ford Motor Company. Today in London, England Kevin
Kalkhoven, along with Cosworth Managing Director Tim Routsis,
made the announcement to over 500 employees at a Rugby Club
stadium in Northamptonshire, England, near Cosworth's
The sale includes all aspects of
Cosworth that Ford owned, including the headquarters in
Northampton, England (north of London) and the plant in
Torrance, California that looks after the Champ Car and IRL
Kalkhoven and his Champ Car series
partner Gerald Forsythe are 50/50 owners of Cosworth that will
see Forsythe have an equal financial position in the company but
Kalkhoven having more of the oversight role.
So far-reaching is
Cosworth’s motorsports business, that Kalkhoven and Forsythe
have moved from being owners of Champ Car (along with Paul
Gentilozzi) to becoming two of the most influential men in
Cosworth, who has a reputation for being one of the premier
racing engine manufacturers in the world, has a history that
dates back to the 1960’s when they powered the late great Jimmy
Clark to so many Formula One victories in a Colin Chapman Lotus.
Champ Car owner Kevin Kalkhoven addresses the media in London.
Not only does this deal secure the future supply of engines for
their Bridgestone Presents the Champ Car World Series Powered by
Ford, it guarantees that the Red Bull (formerly Jaguar) and Minardi
F1 teams have engines to use in 2005.
Kalkhoven has also given guarantees that Cosworth will continue
to supply engines to Chevrolet for their IRL program despite the
fact that the IRL and Champ Car are bitter rivals.
There were many offers made for
Cosworth, over 60, but it was clear that the Forsythe/Kalkhoven
offer was superior.
"We had many offers for Cosworth,"
Routsis told AutoRacing1.com, "but it was clear that the
Forsythe/Kalkhoven team had the best deal for Cosworth, its
employees, and for Ford. Dealing with Kevin Kalkhoven and
his staff was a pleasure. Many of the teams submitting
proposals were racing folks. However, it was clear his
team were professional businessmen, and at the end of the day,
Cosworth must be run like a business. A business can only
be successful if it's profitable and it's clear Kevin and his
team know how to do that."
As many people are beginning to find
out in motorsports, Kevin Kalkhoven is a man of his word, and
all the people we have talked to say he's like a breath of fresh
air in the industry.
Tim Routsis, Managing Director of Cosworth
"I first sat down with Kevin about a
month ago and we wrote down the plan outline on a single piece
of paper," said Routsis. "It's amazing that after many
days of intense negotiations the final contract came out just
like we summarized it that day. It's a testament to the
integrity of a man like Kevin. It was clear his team knew
why they wanted to buy Cosworth and their plans for the future
of the company were best for Cosworth, its employees and Ford.
With Cosworth now cutting its
umbilical cord from Ford, they are free and independent to do
business with any car manufacturer in the world.
Not only will Cosworth continue to
make some of the best racing engines in the world, Kalkhoven has
big plans for Cosworth to make after-market car parts for any
number of cars worldwide. Particularly interesting to him
is the "tuner" car market, which is a craze in Europe, Asia and
Champ Car owner Kevin Kalkhoven looks back from the cockpit as he flies
his Gulfstream V jet to London for Monday's announcement. There's
no looking back now.
"We have no plans to change the name
of Cosworth," Kalkhoven told AutoRacing1.com in London.
"We are pretty much happy with the management team, headed by
Tim Routsis of Cosworth, and that will stay largely in place."
"This is a unique opportunity to own
a company with a heritage and legacy," said Kalkhoven. "I'm
delighted with the Red Bull deal and that Cosworth will be on
the F1 grid."
"We are strongly committed to continuing the great F1 tradition
at Cosworth and take that very successful heritage into the
Kalkhoven bought JDS Uniphase for
$11 million with his partner Dan Pettit, and grew it into a
billion dollar business.
"When we signed that deal,"
Kalkhoven told AutoRacing1.com, "Dan and I were completely out
of money. We had nothing left, but we took a gamble, grew
the business, and several years later we sold it for almost $1
Kalkhoven and company have made a
career out of taking pieces of businesses from large
corporations and building them into profitable entities.
"I have made a career out of buying
pieces of companies and growing them into successful businesses.
Cosworth is no different than JDS Uniphase in that regard," said
Kalkhoven. We see Cosworth as a company that has
tremendous potential and we intend to grow it into a hugely
Both Kalkhoven and Routsis see a big
opportunity for Cosworth in the tuner car market in the USA.
"We see the Torrance, California
plant playing a big role in that," said Routsis. It makes
sense to make car parts as close to the location where you are
going to sell them, especially in the low-margin, high volume
business like that.
There are also plans for Cosworth to
build race engines for the support series of Champ Car as well.
"We are looking at building
economical but powerful race engines for Champ Car's support
series as well," said Routsis. "We see the Torrance shop
servicing all those engines as well as our Champ Car and IRL
programs. Cosworth can build race engines for any racing series
now. We have some of the best engineers and manufacturing
processes in the world and we no longer have to do stuff just
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